American Life in Poetry: Column 611
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
What would our lives be like if we didn’t have imagination? Here’s a poem by Rachel Richardson, who lives in California, from her book, Hundred-Year Wave, from Carnegie Mellon University Press.
A child climbs into a cardboard house,
shuts its doors and windows
to hold in the dark, and lies on her back
inside, looking up through its cut-out moon
and stars. She knows she is not looking
at the sky. But she calls out, still,
It’s nighttime! I’m looking at the sky!
We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2016 by Rachel Richardson, “Astronomer,” from Hundred-Year Wave, (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Rachel Richardson and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.
A NATURAL HISTORY OF LIGHT – Marsha de la O
A small bird cries could-be, could-be, above my head, mousy little thing,
one of those drab gray birds in this dry land, December sun streaming
in low, December rain jostling the arroyo.
********************************Could-be, could-be calls Drab Gray.
With Mother in the Kitchen – Jorie Graham
Let us pause. If you could be saved then yes, ok. If you could be contained in life then yes.
But diligent, foolish, I count off the dates—your days, your breaths—
as if this mistrust of the natural were not enough—
looking for the starting point—